Project Management @ SOS
by Karin Hohenegger
PM Methode / Standard:
Within SOS CV we are using standard project management tools. The tools are very handy. We also have a PMO which has been very supportive as sparring partner in my daily work, for spontaneous exchanges to get a neutral view.
The main tool I have been using is the charter that really helps to plan your project in very structured way- and it is the only obligatory PM-tool at SOS .
Of course, stakeholder- and risk-analysis have been accompanying me all throughout the project. I came up with a form for effort estimation that I heavily need at project start to know whom do I need, to what extend and in which timeframe. Together with stakeholder-analysis, WBS-planning, this helps to also shape the project organisation.
And of course the final report template for project closure. But: use of the tools heavily depends on the project manager. There is a tendency that more and more the content experts have to take on the PM task. Not every management member sees the value of project management, especially of the social aspects.
Defining the objectives is key – and getting common understanding of the objectives in the project team. I invest quite a lot of time at project start in discussions around the objective to get it as clear as possible (what do we do/what will we definitely not do). We at least try to make the objectives as smart as possible.
Planning & Controlling:
One thing I definitely learned: Time you invest in planning, can be saved later on. A good planning is like a basement in a house. For steering the project, I have weekly virtual update calls. We use one note and every participants enters the info in advance and has a few minutes in the call to talk about (achievements, challenges, next steps, support needed). I received very good feedback for this – it can save several parallel info flows if you bring your team together on a regular basis.
Risk and opportunity Management:
Risk management is sometimes too short, due to the project team having to focus on content/project progress. They unfortunately have little time for a meeting on the subject of risk and a meeting is necessary because much can arise spontaneously through the discussion. Learning, however, is that it would be very important to early avoid the risks. And we also always speak only of risks – opportunities analysis I have never done so far. But actually a good idea — thanks J
What I learned is that peer-to-peer works best. You need to have a good network to the different levels. And you definitely need one person in the project team who has the task to always consider the stakeholder management / communication plan.
Also sponsors need support – or maybe call it guidance. You need to have a very open communication with the sponsor. Exchange what you expect, what you as PM need. And as PM you also have the responsibility to constantly remind the steering group of their role. Nobody is a born steering committee member J
About Karin Hohenegger:
I have been working as project manager for SOS Children’s Villages for 8 years now. The first 4 years for Germany, Austria and International and the last 4 years only for the international association. Since this year I have a project with SOS Children’s Villages Austria for separated minors and currently I’m on the go into self-employment for project management and facilitation. Shortly, my site will be available karin-hohenegger.at. It is for me a time of change right now … I’m looking forward to your feedback under firstname.lastname@example.org.